RESIDENTS in a New Forest town are reportedly preparing a petition calling on council leaders to act on concerns about speeding.

Members of Ringwood Town Council were told a motion is being worked on by sections of the community in relation to speeding in Christchurch Road.

Councillor Philip Day, who is also deputy town mayor and chairman of the Planning, Town and Environment Committee, raised the subject at a recent full town council session, stating that the petition will call for a speed reduction and a formal pedestrian crossing.

Cllr Day has been campaigning for the best part of five and a half years for significant traffic calming measures to be introduced on Christchurch Road.

This led to informal pedestrian crossings to the north and south of the roundabout at the junction of Christchurch Road with Wellworthy Way (locally known as the Lidl Roundabout), around four-and-a-half years ago.

However, this did not extend to a proper zebra crossing or traffic lights to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely.

Philip Day.

Philip Day.

In regards to the residents’ petition, Cllr Day says the concerns raised by members of the public at last Friday’s town council meeting are fully supported by him and his fellow councillors.

Cllr Day says one of the main issues has been convincing the responsible highways agency to do something about the ongoing problem.

Cllr Day says that when pressed in the past on this problem, Hampshire County Council “has come up with a hundred different reasons” why it can’t act on speeding concerns, such as cost or the requested installation points “being too close to injunctions”.

They haven’t even been able to get “traffic calming” measures, such as pinch points, or speed bumps, he says.

A small measure that could be implemented to alleviate the problem would involve sending speed guns to volunteers, who would then place themselves along Christchurch Road – after receiving training from police officers – and use the devices sent by police to catch speeding drivers in the act.

The data collected would then be sent on to Hampshire Police and if enough offenders are recorded, officers may then decide to take stronger action or introduce stronger restrictions on the road.

Cllr Day said: “Ringwood residents have the full sympathy of me and my fellow councillors regarding this issue.”

Asked whether a petition would have the desired effect of stronger speeding restrictions being introduced along Christchurch Road, which has been an issue for several years now, he said: “I don’t want to be pessimistic, but I’m not holding my breath.”

Minutes from the meeting reported that Cllr Steve Rippon-Swaine said the road had been surveyed by Hampshire County Council, as highway authority, five years ago. This led to the speed limit being reduced by 10mph.

Mayor Cllr Tony Ring said he raised the issued with police and he hoped a speed watch scheme being created would improve the situation.

The next Ringwood Town Council full meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 30.